Saturday, July 24, 2010

Harbin Series: Lao Yu Tou 老于头 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Everything happens for a reason.

Like for instance, Brian and Nelson’s slowmo-ness.

Because it takes them forever to get ready, by the time we step out of the hotel to hail a cab, Mrs. Zhang’s taxi is just pulling over to let someone off.

It is all timing.

Mrs. Zhang, a bubbly and motherly middle-aged woman, becomes our driver/tour guide/nanny/butler/entertainer/photographer for the duration of our trip.

But I believe the real reason why our paths have crossed is this:


IMG_9323Lao Yu Tou Fish Restaurant

Rather than going to the tourist trap restaurants on my list, Mrs. Zhang suggests we try something genuinely local and brings us to this restaurant about 1000 meters from the Siberian Tiger Park. According to her, Lao Yu Tou is the best place to experience local Harbin cuisine.

These are what greet us when we enter the restaurant:


IMG_9317The traditional open kitchen


IMG_9320Stacks and stacks of dirty dishes


IMG_925190% of Harbin’s population waiting to get a seat. (I swear it feels like it!)


IMG_9280Sterilized eating tools. Thank God!


Right away I know this is going to be an awesome meal.


IMG_9256First, we pick a good-sized fish


IMG_9259Then we pour the secret broth into the built-in cast iron wok


IMG_9262Carefully put in the cleaned and gutted fish


IMG_9287Then wait for it to boil, a bit like shabu-shabu


We don’t like to waste time, so we keep ourselves busy while we wait.

With these:

IMG_9284Pickled vegetables


IMG_9275Native chicken with soy sauce and ginger. Flavorful but bony.


IMG_9278Pickled and smoked pechay. Yum.


IMG_9285Some fish intestine (liver?) cooked with fish roe. Now this is REALLY good!


IMG_9283Spongy bread. They don’t do rice here. But this is way better than rice.


IMG_9296 Ooops! This is the only picture I have of the fish. Sorry. When I get carried away, I forget. But this is the best fish pot I have ever had. Because the fish is fresh, its meat is so soft and sweet. It’s like eating baby meat. And with the addition of vegetables, mushrooms and tofu, the soup has become a milky color and is so flavorful that if you use it to cook rice, you will have the best congee in the world. And yes, that is my plate. I am a fish head and breast fin person.


IMG_9314And for dessert, frogs in Chinese sweet syrup


IMG_9307We wash down the amphibians with this ice-cold Harbin Beer


To date, this is one of the greatest meals of my life.


Brian, Mrs. Zhang, Sherylou, Nelson, Me


I am just kidding about the frogs, silly!


Lao Yu Tou 江北老于头渔馆: Longjiang No. 1 Village, Songbei District, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China. 松北区龙江第一村村口 (距东北虎林园1000米处) Tel: +86451-87162555, +86451-88107660

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